Dalhousie University - Inspiring Minds


Ethnography and the Emancipatory Agenda in IR

Dr. Jean Michel Montsion
Associate Professor, Multidisciplinary Studies, York University (Glendon College)

International Relations (IR) emerged during the interwar period as an intellectual exercise that treats the nature of relations between states as substantively different from relations between actors within states. With a intent of problematizing such abstraction, ethnography has been used as a way to open up the field to new objects of study, research puzzles and ways to fight social inequalities. By looking at recent attempts to integrate ethnography into IR – namely practice-focused research, autoethnography and multi-sited ethnography – I question the idea of one specific ethnographic turn in the field. Highlighting some commonalities in how its use is debated in other fields, I reflect on the disciplinary ways by which IR scholarship is challenged in integrating the contribution of ethnography and how these challenges may be a consequence of the field's lack of acknowledgement of its racist history and tendencies.


Lectures, Seminars




Lord Dalhousie Room (Henry Hicks Building)